30 Days: 30 Albums | Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy

30-days-30-albums-header

I was happy to see that there was a Bow Wow Wow CD in the basement of Harvest Records. I always enjoyed the band from the get-go, but lack more than a couple of CDs in the Record Cell. Seeing another sitting there was a no-brainer. I only have one of their “proper” albums but in all honesty, they only had two of those amid a welter of compilations and re-packagings, even back in the day. I am of the opinion that Malcolm McLaren got the better end of the deal with Adam Ant when Adam hired him as a consultant and got an earful of McLaren’s pop theories even as the erstwhile Sex Pistols manager absconded with Ant’s band right from under his nose. Sure, Adam took those notes and became a star, but as good as his records could be, the original Ants were just an insanely tight band as evidenced in their incarnation as Bow Wow Wow.

RCA Records | US | CD | 1983 | 07863 54375-2

RCA Records | US | CD | 1983 | 07863 54375-2

#27 • Bow Wow Wow: I Want Candy US LP/CD [1982/1993]

  1. I Want Candy – 2:40
  2. Baby, Oh No – 2:44
  3. Louis Quatorze [ver. 2] – 2:47
  4. Cowboy – 3:25
  5. Mile High Club [ver. 2] – 3:25
  6. Go Wild In The Country [ext. remix] – 5:18
  7. Jungle Boy [ext. remix] – 5:18
  8. El Boss Dicho – 2:09
  9. (I’m A) T.V. Savage [remix] – 2:35
  10. King Kong – 2:16

I recall seeing the “I Want Candy” video played quite a bit on places like HBO’s “Video Jukebox” and by the late summer of 1982, when my cable system added MTV, it was a fairly common song. The tune first appeared on the US 4-track EP called “The Last of the Mohicans,” which contained the tune along with a new song, “Cowboy” Rounding out the EP were two remakes of earlier songs from “Your Cassette Pet” as produced by Joan Jett’s producer Kenny Laguna. Though I liked Bow Wow Wow, I never got around to buying this at the time, distracted as I was by all the amazing things swirling around me. No one was more surprised than I was to see that the four tracks from that EP metastasized into a US-only album called “I Want Candy” in a further bid for obviousness. Upon closer inspection it seemed to be the “Mohicans” EP with old tracks from “Your Cassette Pet” and “See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah! City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!” filling out the space. I moved on.

<insert 31 year gap>

While I had the two actual Bow Wow Wow albums on vinyl at the time of release and enjoyed them. I didn’t really come to appreciate the band more fully until the 90s, when giving their music the backward glance, I appreciated all the disparate influences they synthesized into their sound a lot more after understanding better just what they were [Duane Eddy, Balinese Monkey Chant, Surf Rock, Funk]. And how unlikely it all was! EMI released the excellent “Girl Bites Dog” compilation [courtesy of producer and icon Vinny Vero] and I was ecstatic to finally have the incredible “W.O.R.K.” 12″ mix* on CD. The comp is a true gem with all of “Your Cassette Pet” given to the digital medium along with many other loose bits of wonderment. I then bought the One Way CD of the band’s second album [and swansong] “When The Going Gets Tough The Tough Get Going” and appreciated it even more than I had the vinyl of it. So when I saw the “I Want Candy” album last weekend that went quickly into the shopping bag.

My thought was, it’s was worth it just for the material from the “Mohicans” EP, but finally owning the album has revealed further charms. Of course, “I Want Candy” remains one of the best of the New Wave cover hits as it takes The Strangeloves single and makes it their own. “Baby, Oh No” was a US only single [with “Cowboy” as a B-side], also cut with Kenny Laguna and featuring elegant leads courtesy of guitarist Matthew Ashman. The new versions of “Louis Quatorze” and “Mile High Club” sound tougher than the cassette versions, but are otherwise similar in arrangement. Where this album got more fascinating was on what was once side two.

There were three cuts on side two from “See Jungle!…” but these have been remixed most capably by Bill Kimber. “Go Wild In The Country” was given a super extended remix that would have been right at home in the 1981 environment that originally surrounded that single. Ironically, the actual UK 12″ of said single was the straight album cut of under three minutes. That song’s B-side, “El Boss Dicho” was also brought along for the ride and appeared here as well. What really knocked me out was the remix of “Jungle Boy” that Kimber expertly achieved. This was always my favorite song from the “See Jungle…” album that takes its name from the lyrics to this song. Now it’s a 5:12 workout that finally satisfies me fully! The remix is exceptionally good, too. None of those anemic 1981 “instrumental vamping for four bars” tropes show their faces here! The “TV Savage” remix is the one of the three that barely sounds different.

All of this in 2013 is absolutely delightful to my ears, and the only cut on this release that is actually a straight re-tread is the appearance of “King Kong” from the “See Jungle…” album that is completely untouched. I noticed that this CD is selling for a lot more than I paid for it, and up front harbored thoughts of perhaps flipping it since those concert trips coming up won’t be paid on good intentions, but this album delivers too much to even think of selling it off, even for a nice profit. With three Bow Wow Wow CDs on my racks, I now need to really make the effort to buy the 2010 Cherry Red 2xCD DLX RM of “See Jungle…;” the crown jewel in the Bow Wow Wow canon.

CONCLUSION: enjoy

By the way the thread is 30 Albums: 30 Days. There’s only one way to achieve that; posting seven days a week. Be here tomorrow for the next chapter!

– 30 –

bow wow wow - workUK12A* Has anyone ever noticed that the cover of which is actually a huge, pink swastika? Me neither.

About postpunkmonk

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11 Responses to 30 Days: 30 Albums | Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy

  1. jsd says:

    I’ve owned this CD for 20+ years and it is indeed a wonderful little party on plastic. You can’t listen to Bow Wow Wow and not crack a smile. Unless you’re a soulless monster, dead inside.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      jsd – Theirs was a joyful sound. I’m flabbergasted that Leigh Gorman is touring with a pickup Bow Wow Wow without at least Anabella singing! Better to remember them as they were! And to think I snubbed them in the 90s when they were touring after Ashman died. If I only knew how much worse it could get!

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  2. Yeah, I have owned a copy of this album but have no idea where it is now, so I supposed I should pick it up somewhere since it’s cheap most places! And that Cherry Red remaster as well! I’ve always thought BWW a better (musically) band than the Ants though of course Adam’s posse has its charms as well.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria -Yeah, as much as Adam could really (stand and) deliver the goods, I just have to doff my Aztec Energy Dome to the glory of Bow Wow Wow. Put on that glorious “W.O.R.K.” 12″ and that’s it! It’s a furious, relentless groove that can’t be stopped!

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  3. Taffy says:

    I have the very fondest memories of seeing the original BWW line-up back in 1983 while touring When the Going Gets Tough album. So very energetic! Meanwhile, I find it shocking that their I Want Candy cover only made it 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in the day, considering its current ubiquity in 80s compilations and radio shows.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Taffy – Lucky you! BWW probably never got within 800 miles of me back in the day. Like I said, there was an Orlando club date in the late 90s after Ashman was gone and I thought the better of it. Yeah, I looked up the chart placing of “I Want Candy” while writing that post and was shocked… shocked, I tell you that it never even hit the lower reaches of the Top 40 when it seemed pretty ubiquitous at the time. And especially in hindsight, as you indicate! I hear it a lot at the gym and it goes far in karmically balancing out a whole passel of Stevie Nicks!

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  4. Echorich says:

    Bow Wow Wow was pop flash paper. Razor sharp, comic but deadly serious, they were the late Punk Svengali McLaren’s most complete idea come to fruition and they proved the needed very little from him to be successful. The crash and burn was important to create the legacy and the fact that Gorman can attempt to come back without LuWin or the late great Matthew Ashman just makes me sick.

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  5. JT says:

    Saw BWW on the 1998 tour and was suitably impressed: Annabella was still slim, hot, and full of energy, and 3/4 of the original band were enough to put on a tight and fun gig. Saw them again in 2013… Annabella was out of shape and out of breath, having to rest between each song, making banal banter as she wheezed. Gorman looked good and was having fun, and the two sidemen did their bit adequately. Might be time for them to hang it up if Annabella is out of the picture.

    Is there anything on the Cherry Red 2010 set that isn’t on the discs you already have?
    Any word on mastering quality?
    Just wondering if I should upgrade from my combo of the 2-CD “I Want Candy” anthology and some digitized leftover vinyl tracks.

    Opening act for BWW in 2013, by the way, was Men Without Hats, who I’d never seen live before. Lead singer Ivan was accompanied by a guitarist and two gals on keys, a really hot one who seemed to be doing the easy parts, and a slightly less attractive one who took the “Alan Wilder” role: the trickier bits. I’ve always felt that MWH were underrated: Ivan is a strong frontman with some clever lyrics and good hooks.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – I thought the better of BWW in ’98, but then again, I thought the better of DEVO in 1988 as well! Look what that got me! The Cherry Red disc is something I should get, since I traded in my LP of “See Jungle” decades ago during the Great Vinyl Purge. The Cherry Red set has “Prince Of Darkness,” “Teenage Queen,” and “Joy of Eating Raw Flesh.” The latter two are unique to this set.

      Wow. Am I the only guy who never saw Men Without Hats in spite of being into them since the initial 1980 Stiff America EP? “Antarctica” is still a “minimal synth” classic! I sort of like them. I have 2 CDs and some 12″ vinyl. I can’t listen to them too much. Maybe Ivan’s bellowing voice is the x-factor? “Pop Goes The World” holds up as my favorite, but then again, it was a Zeus B. Held production! I bought the Oglio export only twofer CD the last time I was in Toronto, and it’s almost too much MWH for one sitting. Of course, if MWH came to town, sure I’d go. It’s just worth it for “I Got The Message!”

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    • jdrukman says:

      The comments on Amazon for the Cherry Red version say the sound quality is terrible.

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      • postpunkmonk says:

        jdrukman – Thanx for the tip. I should set my sights on the Great Expectations pressing, it it’s affordable. Actually the Great Expectations release is adulterated with the [admittedly great] remixes of LP cuts from “I Want Candy” as well as the 12″ mix of the almighty “Chihuahua.” But it troubles me that the extended mixes supplant the original album tracks, therefore, the One Way US CD looks like a better [canonical] fit for my tastes.

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